How Emotionally Focused Therapy Compliments Communication Tools

A happy European elderly couple who have lived together for 50 years sit on a bench and communicate


  • EFT: Targets the underlying emotional issues that can sabotage communication. It helps you understand your own emotions and those of others.
  • Communication Tools: Provide specific techniques for clear and concise message delivery, conflict resolution, and active listening. These tools can work well when things are calm, but people tend to lose them when tempers flair. EFT is more likely to stick.

Focus in a Crisis:

  • Communication Tools: Often require some level of planning and practice to be used effectively. In a crisis, emotions can run high, making it difficult to remember and implement specific techniques.
  • EFT: Focuses on self-awareness and emotional regulation. In a crisis, these skills can be more readily accessed because they address the immediate need to calm down and gain some emotional control.

Benefits in a Crisis:

  • EFT can help you:
    • Identify and label your emotions, which can be overwhelming during a crisis.
    • Reduce emotional intensity, allowing for clearer thinking.
    • Gain some perspective on the situation.
    • Maintain some emotional regulation, preventing further escalation.

Communication Tools vs EFT:

Communication tools are great for building strong communication in general, but in a crisis, the emotional intensity might make them difficult to implement. EFT equips you with tools to manage those emotions, making communication during a crisis more manageable.

Think of it like this:

Imagine a crisis as a raging fire.

  • Communication Tools: Might be like trying to use a specific type of extinguisher – you might not have it readily available, or the fire might be too strong for it.
  • EFT: Acts like a fire hose – it can help you douse the immediate flames (strong emotions) so you can then use other tools (communication techniques) to fully extinguish the fire (resolve the crisis).


  • EFT: Creates long-term changes in how you approach communication by addressing emotional patterns.
  • Communication Tools: Offer immediate solutions for specific communication situations. They’re like tricks of the trade you can use in the moment.

Here’s an analogy:

Imagine communication as a car.

  • EFT: Works on the engine – addressing emotional hangups that can make the car stall.
  • Communication Tools: Are like driving techniques – helping you navigate traffic (conflicts) and handle the road (different communication styles).

Together, EFT and communication tools can create a smooth and efficient communication style. EFT helps you understand your emotions while driving, and communication tools give you the techniques to navigate those emotions effectively.